This past weekend, three recently-graduated members of Penn’s track and field team competed in the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon for a spot on team bound for Rio this coming August.
For most of Penn’s undergraduate population, the end of the final exam period signals the time for kicking back, relaxing and fondly looking back at the previous year.
But for a very lucky, very small fraction of the student body, the onset of summer simply means business as usual.
Playing on a varsity spring sport inherently carries the risk of playing past the school year’s conclusion, and 2016 was no exception.
Last Thursday, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced its induction class of 2016. One team and 15 individuals will be inducted — some posthumously.
And in a class that features world boxing champions, NFL Hall of Famers and the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers, one induction will be an old Quaker.
George Washington Orton graduated from Penn with a Masters in 1894 and a Ph.D.
It’s the end of an era for Penn men’s track and field.
After years of service leading the rebuild of the Quakers’ men’s program, senior superstars Sam Mattis and Thomas Awad donned the Red and Blue for the final time on Friday evening, competing in the discus throw and 5000-meter run, respectively, at the 2016 NCAA Track and Field Champions in Eugene, Ore.
Mattis finished in second place in the men’s discus throw earning his third consecutive first team All-American honors, while Awad took 22nd place in the men’s 5000m to secure an honorable mention All-America spot.
Penn’s evening was opened by Mattis, who was the presumptive favorite in his signature event all season after setting a still-standing American-born collegiate record with a gargantuan toss of 67.45 meters back at the Philadelphia College Classic in March – a full sixteen feet further than the next farthest throw by an NCAA athlete in 2016, courtesy of Kansas’ Mitchell Cooper.
But Mattis – attempting to become Penn’s first two-time national champion since Bruce Collins won the 400m hurdles in 1972 and 1974 – struggled early on, barely advancing into the final flight with a first round mark of 57.98 meters.
They made the cut.
Seniors Tommy Awad and Sam Mattis are going to Eugene, Ore. to compete in the NCAA championships next week.
Now that all of the times and marks have been recorded for the regular season, berths for the postseason have been confirmed — 16 track and field stars will be representing the Red and Blue in the first round of postseason meets, the NCAA East Prelims.
With a quarter of a second to spare, senior distance runner Thomas Awad took a colossal step towards representing the United States in the Rio Olympics this August.
Last Monday at the Swarthmore Final Qualifying meet, Awad recorded a personal best in the 1,500 meter race with a historic time of 3:37.75, narrowly giving him an automatic qualification to compete in this July’s United States Olympic Trials.
Following 30 years of service to the Penn track and field program, women’s head coach Tony Tenisci has officially announced his retirement, effective at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season.
While all of Penn spent its weekend trying to end the semester with a bang by studying hours on end, one group of students spent its time seeking to go out with a bang by throwing things, jumping around, and running in circles.
At the 122nd Penn Relays this weekend, Penn track and field felt right at home.
“You don’t bet against Awad in the last hundred," Penn director of track and field Steve Dolan said minutes after Penn won its first relay at Penn Relays since 1974.
The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the only stars that have graced Franklin Field with their presence in the past.
The runners have taken their places. It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday in April, and the competitors are lined up in front of a crowd of over 40,000 at Franklin Field.
Like any aging lady, Franklin Field got a facelift this year — and it is a big one.
The new surface of Penn’s track is immaculate — the colors pop out enough to make any graphic designer jump with joy.
Three Ivy League championships. Two All-American selections. Three qualifications at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Elite athletes of all varieties will head to Franklin Field this weekend, as collegiate superstars in several different events will use the Penn Relays to tune up for NCAA Finals and, hopefully, the Rio Olympics.
There’s succeeding, and then there’s success.
When the Villanova Women’s Distance Medley Relay team collected its first Penn Relays title in 1984, not even the school itself could have predicted the decades of success that were to follow.
The Distance Medley Relay, or DMR, is a race that is comprised of four legs, each of varying length.
He came to Penn with dreams of seeing the Quaker track team become a powerhouse, and leaves University City with dreams of racing in the Olympics.
On Friday and Saturday, Penn track and field competed at Princeton in the Larry Ellis Invitational.
Mother nature has not shone brightly on Penn track and field this season. The Quakers have been forced to embrace the elements at the vast majority of their meets.
This weekend should be no different.